Down, but not out

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Mike Brown, who returned interceptions for touchdowns to give the Chicago Bears back-to-back overtime wins last season, will likely miss the first two exhibition games with a broken bone in his right hand.

Brown, who plays free safety, was hurt in Tuesday's practice, but didn't get the hand examined until earlier today. He's expected to return to the practice field next week but probably won't play until at least the third preseason game.

"I think he will be fine," Bears coach Dick Jauron said Wednesday. "We'll see how it goes, it will have a lot to do with the callusing over the break and all those things. Nobody will know how that goes."

Larry Whigham is the top candidate to fill in for Brown.

"We'll just rotate guys in and out and go about our business," Jauron said.

Brown is confident about coming back quickly from the injury.

"I'm going to be ready (for the start of the season), there's no doubt about it," Brown said. "I'll probably get the last two preseason games in too, but they're (Bears trainers) going to be careful. There's no need for me to go out there and really do some damage that is irreversible.

Alfonso Boone also suffered an injury in during the morning session of Wednesday's practice. He was carted off of the field with an ankle injury. The severity of the injury is unknown at this time.

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